Few would have expected the absolute drubbing that the Wallabies handed to the All Blacks in last night’s Bledisloe Cup match.
The Wallabies started with great impetus and looked more than up for the match. It was a late red card to Scott Barrett in the first half that will likely dominate the discussion in the coming days, but that undervalues just how good Australia were.
The All Blacks had to dig deep in the second with just 14 men on the field, but they weren’t able to match up to the Wallabies’ continued intensity. Ultimately, the Wallabies prevailed 47-26 – equalling their previous biggest win over the All Blacks. This match marked the most points that New Zealand have ever conceded in a match and the kiwis will be desperate to bounce back at Eden Park next weekend.
All that being said, how did the two teams rate?
Didn’t take a step back in the scrums and was busy in the breakdowns. Put in a good shift.
2. Tolu Latu – 7
Always willing to truck the ball up and was difficult to take down – kept the ball alive when necessary. No issues at the lineout or with discipline. Could this performance earn him the 2 jersey moving forward?
3. Alan Alaalatoa – 7
Strong carries and reliable in the scrums, earning a penalty against Joe Moody. Made 9 tackles but one bad miss on Dane Coles led to Rieko Ioane’s try.
4. Izack Rodda – 6
The big man made good metres with ball in hand and was reliable in the lineouts. Didn’t assert his presence as much as he could have, especially once the All Blacks lost a man.
5. Rory Arnold – 5.5
Safe but underwhelming. Is this really the best that the Wallabies have?
6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto – 5
Made way too many mistakes early on in the match but regularly trucked the ball up. Not the answer at 6 for the Wallabies.
7. Michael Hooper – 7
Didn’t stand out as much in the loose as you’d expect in a try-fest. Still managed to run for 48 metres with the ball. Made a clutch steal in the 67th minute to stall any building New Zealand momentum. Marshalled his troops well.
8. Isi Naisarani – 6.5
All Blacks struggled to bring the big man to the ground, trucked the ball up very efficiently.
9. Nic White – 8.5
Great speed and passion from the surprise selection. Commanded his forwards and made sure the Wallabies never stopped pushing the All Blacks. Played a big part in keeping the game high-octane. One of the players of the match.
10. Christian Lealiifano – 7
Showed more of a running game than we’re used to. Kicked when he needed to kick but was tidy when taking the ball to the line too. Missed few tough kicks at goal.
11. Marika Koroibete – 5
Scored a sneaky forwards’ try but otherwise failed to get himself involved in the game too much. Needed to go looking for work.
12. Samu Kerevi – 9
A hugely dominant display from the burly midfielder – came of age. Started the game strongly with a solid kick and chase then never let up. Bowled through a number of All Blacks. Skipped last Smith and wrecked Barrett for an excellent try assist. Did botch one try in the 25th minute, when he failed to pass the ball to an unmarked man on the wing. More than made up for it elsewhere.
13. James O’Connor – 6.5
Created the Wallabies’ first try with a fend on Goodhue and a sneaky offload. Threw the last pass for late Wallabies try. Looked composed – good enough to start again next week.
14. Reece Hodge – 7
The best winger on display, despite a few errors. Regularly hit the line with great intent, clocked up the second most metres run of any player on the field and useful under the high ball. Good distance from penalty kicks, too.
15. Kurtley Beale – 7
Botched a try in the same set of phases as Kerevi and had a fairly quiet first half. Came alive as the Wallabies got ascendancy and helped keep his team humming. Snaked his way through the All Blacks’ defence to score at the death. Top metre eater with 96 to his name.
16. Folau Fainga’a – 4.5
17. James Slipper – 4
22. Matt To’omua – 6
Penalised once at the scrum. Called upon to make a number of tackles and didn’t disappoint in that regard.
2. Dane Coles – 7.5
Bad miss early on Samu Kerevi – but not the only All Blacks to fail to bring the big man down. Made a brilliant run down the left flank to set up Rieko Ioane’s try.
3. Owen Franks – 5.5
Similar story to Moody. Solid on defence with 11 tackles to his name, but having one less defender on the field made it a difficult night for the less mobile props.
4. Scott Barrett – 1
Made 10 tackles in half a game of rugby, which isn’t a bad result. Perhaps the All Blacks would have lost regardless of Barrett’s red card, but that should be no consolation. Cost his team any chance at a victory.
5. Sam Whitelock – 6.5
Busy on defence with 18 tackles and safe in the lineouts. Didn’t make any of his trademark runs and was surprisingly subbed late in the match – probably because he was absolutely spent. Hit a lot of breakdowns.
6. Ardie Savea – 7
Conceded two early penalties though was probably unlucky with one. Played with six on his back, but was used in the lineouts and also packed down at 8 in the scrums. Stood up late in the game with some powerful runs. Loses points for his stupid push on the back of Hooper’s head – that’s the kind of stupid penalty that could decide a game decider.
7. Sam Cane – 5.5
Showed heart to attempt to chase Nic White down for his try. Subbed immediately afterwards – probably not dynamic enough to be on the field when his side’s a man down, but that’s true of most forwards. Tackled his heart out.
8. Kieran Read – 7.5
The everywhere man. Answered a lot of questions asked of him but still not back to his best. Had to lock down in the scrums after Barrett’s red card. Made a potential try-saving tackle on Hooper late in the piece. Bad decision late in the game to tap penalty instead of kicking for the lineout. Topped the tackle charts with 21 to his name.
9. Aaron Smith – 5
Rode the pine against South Africa and didn’t really do enough this week to cement his spot as the starting halfback. Not easy being a halfback when your team has no ball, however.
10. Richie Mo’unga – 7
Mixed up his game well and took the ball to the line with great efficiency in the second half. Looked far more assured this week. Also made a try-saving tackle on Kerevi.
11. Rieko Ioane – 4
Very nearly gifted the Wallabies a try, quiet game on attack otherwise. Worrying signs – that’s two poor weeks in a row.
12. Anton Lienert-Brown – 8
Took his chances – scored a good try because of it following through on Jack Goodhue’s kick. Always dangerous and such a reliable defender, making the most tackles of any back on the field. Got caught out running sideways one time too many.
13. Jack Goodhue – 4
Bad miss early almost cost the ABs points and wasn’t able to nail James O’Connor shortly after, which created the Wallabies’ first try. Moments later put in an excellent kick to create the All Blacks’ first. Injured early and may not be available for a few weeks.
14. Ben Smith – 6
Shut down Wallabies attack early in the second half when they had an overlap, otherwise fairly quiet. Doesn’t offer the same spark of old but still very reliable. Unfortunately, reliability doesn’t win matches when you’ve got one fewer man on the field. 9 tackles.
15. Beauden Barrett – 5.5
Spent most of the first half on defence. Absolutely destroyed by Samu Kerevi but then launched through the Wallabies line to score a try for the All Blacks.
18. Angus Ta’avao – 4.5
Safe on defence, but a quiet game on attack until the 71st minute when he scored a miracle try.
23. George Bridge – 5.5
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